Poetry is a creative expression loved by many Maryknoll members, and holy days like Easter are often a source of poetic spark. Easter is one of the holiest days of the Catholic year, and many Fathers, Sisters, and Brothers feel inspired by its deep meaning for themselves and the Church. The following poems come from our Creative Works collections. Each poem addresses Easter from a different perspective – Jesus Christ, a watcher at the tomb, and a person living centuries later. One of the great things about poetry is this subjectivity. Every person who experiences a certain moment may feel differently about it, and can express those differences in verse. We hope that this Easter, you will read these verses and, through poetry, think about the holy day in a new way. Happy Easter from the Archives!

“A Tomb of Mist” by Sr. Ann Hayden
Sr. Ann Hayden laughing with friends in Nicaragua, 1988
Beware the tomb, if it is but a narrow

chamber of mist with low ceiling;

unclear perspective, indistinct

seeing and muffled hearing.

For when the stone is rolled away, and

the call to life sounds and begins to break

the bonds of mist with hope; there may

be a niggling fear  – Is it safe to leave?

Here and now, in this very real middle

space of Holy Mystery marked by hope

and doubt, we must leave the tomb,

choosing life anew.

“His Love” by Fr. James Nieckarz
Fr. James Nieckarz during his period of ministry to people living with AIDS and their families in New York City
His Love – 

Is the confidence of whales who trust the ocean,

Like the certitude that eagles have in flight.

One knows for sure

That it swells from a center

With its crossweave whole –


And absolutely fixed

In its own self-unifying core.

But His Love is not rigid.

It moves out from the universal source,

Sinking root in people’s hearts,

Soaring high in crossbeam,

Nailed down to a crossbeam,

It still has the vigor

To burst through the tomb’s stone door.

“Easter 1957 Pt. IV” by Fr. Patrick Bergin
Fr. Patrick Bergin in Korea, c.1965
For with Him there is mercy

and plentiful redemption.

In the silence of the sleep of death,

Someone stirred, and having woke,

He came among the sleeping dead.

And overnight, the dogwood bloomed.

Yesterday it stood there, but that was all.

The wind made sport of it

and children tore off stalks to beat one another.

Now it has bloomed and all the

world is different for it.

And what was just a dead stalk

has become a flowering tree.

We may be happy for that.

We may be allowed a smile in the Sunlight

looking at that Fruitful Tree

before we have to turn

and scurry back into our warrens.

Who knows, maybe next year we may see it

flower again? If not, we can tell our children

and have them tell their children and perhaps

it may be remembered.

“Re-Genesis” by Sr. Patricia Desaulniers
Sr. Patricia Desaulniers (right) with students at the Maryknoll school in Pakil, the Philippines
Time, this dawn, to keep earth’s time again

(Or so his Father said),

And mend once more old hopes now shattered.

Supplant fresh fears that wilt strong wills

With peace, with joy, with rugged trust.

He slipped in grace back through his broken flesh

And it was good.

As Energy Divine invested blood and bone

He blew the linen cloth from off his face.

Set loose his limbs from winding tapes,

And shed with cheer a clotted shroud.

Then rose from that cold bier.

And it was good.

He knew that friends would come this dawn

So rolled the towel up and stayed.

But soon he wished to feel the day’s gold light,

And tapped the solid stone aside.

He lightly laughed to see the guards

Run spooked all pellmell from the place.

On pierced feet on dew-wet grass

He paced the dawn in springtime garden,

Then smiled to hear the women talk

As they drew near.

And it was good.